ROCHESTER, Minn. - After bringing home a national title last season, the RCTC wrestling team isn’t willing to settle for anything less this year. There have been so many uncertainties over the last year, but the Yellowjackets are certain they have a solid roster.
“We have a good combination of returners,” said Travis Rutt. “A lot of leadership returning along with some pretty good impact freshmen.”
The roster is set, the schedule has been made and the Yellowjackets are eager to get back on the mat and compete.
“We’re getting in shape,” Matt Frost said. “We can just keep going harder and harder every day and lead us up to that national tournament.”
Last season, the Yellowjackets won the national championship for NJCAA non-scholarship schools and placed third overall. This year, the team wants to bring more of that success. That’s why Parker Dobrocky said there were no ‘off days’ during the offseason.
“We turned our living room into a weight room. We had everything in there,” Dobrocky said. “We were staying in shape and trying to lift two times a day as much as we could. Now that we’re back here, we’re staying on top of our game coming in here two times a day. We’re really putting in that effort.”
Those countless hours are paying off. RCTC is ranked third in the preseason poll with six wrestlers ranked in their respective weight classes.
“We were excited to see that we’re ranked third and having those six guys in the rankings, that definitely helps our program as far as building up for the season,” Carson Henry said.
It’s that type of mentality and success that drew Willie VonRuden, a state champion from Medford, to the program.
“Just the atmosphere, the coaching, the people and the history,” he said.
With such a solid roster, Coach Rutt’s expectations are high.
“We did win the non-scholarship title but we ended up with third in the tournament so the next notch up is winning the whole tournament,” Rutt said.
RCTC opens the season on Jan. 30 on the road against Minnesota West. The Yellowjackets return home to take on Iowa Lakes on Feb. 14.